CHAPTER 2: Digging up the garden?

Fast-forward to my Christmas Holidays. Back home in Norfolk, I remember using every available moment to discuss my ideas with my family. (Even Christmas Day, I might add....during the meal....the family, however, are extremely used to it). The main issue was where would I conduct my dissertation. Clearly, I required a lot of soil. And space. Not only did I need to plant the crops, but I had to access what's known as the soil profile; a vertical cross section of a soil so that I could access the roots and observe their position. My Dad (jokingly) teased my Mum that I could possibly dig up her back garden, which needless to say, didn't go down at all well. The idea of see-through growing bags was also mentioned, but I would have needed about 500 of them.
One Sunday morning, just before Christmas, at about 8:00am, I wandered into my Mum's bedroom and brought up (once again) the topic of the dissertation. Throughout my life, as much as it pains me to say it, some of the best things I've done are the results of an idea emanating from my Mum. How she conjures up these wonderful solutions, I shall never know, but there I was trying to suggest we use empty bookcases as large-scale planting pots, when she suggested I rent some land. About 500m away from our house is a stretch of disused farmland and over the years, it has evolved into a site of wild gardens and allotments. Perhaps, just perhaps, I could 'borrow' some land from there. Phone calls were made, and by the afternoon, I had 'unofficially' reserved a place at the very top of this stretch of farmland.
It has become tradition to celebrate Boxing Day with a festive walk in our family, so on Boxing Day morning, my Dad and I trotted up the path to the allotments for the very first time. It would be the first of literally hundreds of trips. As we sauntered up the narrow path, we passed a melange of horticultural scenes. Herb gardens and vegetable plots, greenhouses and sheds, climbing roses and even a chicken run; facets of every branch of gardening (another excusable pun) were to be admired.

But my attention was on a 250 square meter plot; an unclaimed plot of wild grasses and weeds. Not the most uplifting of sites I've ever seen, but it had great potential. The vistas surrounding what was, incidentally, a rather high elevation for Norfolk were spellbinding. Interrupting the horizon agreeably was Filby Church, whilst to the south, an old mill I remember exploring as a young boy. Great Yarmouth was just discernable to the east, and to the west? A patch of blue we call the Norfolk Broads.

Later that day, Dad and I were walking through Winterton Dunes along the Norfolk Coast. Before long, we were mapping the site out, and working out how we would remove the excess vegetation. I was becoming extremely excited about the project, that was now beginning to take shape. 

No comments:

Post a Comment